The EU has confirmed that citizens of the UK will not need visas to enter any of the EU-member states, but that there will need to apply for, pay and obtain another document for their travel.
This document is called the European Travel Information and Authorization System, ETIAS for short. The ETIAS is yet to be launched but will become effective by 2021.
This travel document will not only be used by UK citizens, but by citizens of all the other countries outside the EU.
What exactly is ETIAS?
Citizens of EU-member states of which the UK is currently one have rights to free travel within the EU. But then, nationals of non-EU countries must apply for a visa to gain entry into the EU. This rule does not apply to citizens of a special list of 61 countries that include the US, Australia, and Japan.
Visitors from any of the 61 countries on the exclusive list can enter and stay in any of the Schengen countries of the EU for up to 90 days before they would need a visa.
But then, because of migrant problems and security issues arising from terrorism, the EU has decided to introduce more regulations concerning the 61 countries on the special list.
This is where the ETIAS comes in. It is an electronic application form which serves the same purpose as the ESTA of the US which costs $14. The EU has also pointed out that the ETIAS is very much cheaper than America’s ESTA: each ETIAS authorization will cost €7 and will be valid for 3 years.
The EU has also made it clear that the ETIAS is not a visa but a necessary travel document that must be carried by citizens of any of the 61 countries in the special list provided that they are coming to the EU to stay for up to 90 days for any of medical, business, tourism, or transit-related reasons. According to the EU, the ETIAS will only serve to amplify security checks on these travellers who can enter the EU without prior visas.
The Brexit deal allows for EU and UK citizens to travel having only a passport or ID till when the transition period expires in 2020. After this period, the EU has offered UK citizens visa-free travel if only the UK reciprocates same travel rule to the EU. The ETIAS, however, remains a necessary travel document for all UK citizens going into the EU no matter if there will be a deal or not.
The ETIAS is for travellers from the 61 countries aged between 18 and 70.
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